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Burner app allows agents the freedom to compartmentalize business and personal calls

Why pay money for a separate smartphone to take client calls from when you could just buy a new number with the Burner app?

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Most adults of a certain age have had reservations about giving out a personal number. In a nightclub, you can easily deflect unwanted attention by providing a fake number. Of course, this does not work for a professional who needs to be reached for business purposes. So, if you are a professional or an entrepreneur working solo, how can you reach the public without making yourself public?

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Stay connected like a boss

Burner is a new app that addresses professionals’ needs to be socially connected while also placing parameters around how they can be accessed. Here’s how it works: The app can be downloaded for free on iTunes. The company also provides a free trial period. After the trial expires, users can subscribe for $4.99 per month.

At this price, you can keep your Burner number indefinitely. Users also have the option of purchasing credit packs, priced from $7.99 to $11.99, which allow them to buy additional phone numbers and more minutes. A premium service offers unlimited calling, texting, and photo messaging, as well as the benefit of never having to worry about when to renew.

All on a single device

The difference, however, between what you do in a nightclub and the service that Burner provides is that the phone numbers are real and belong to you. Burner selects the numbers through a random generator. The people to whom you place calls and from whom you receive calls will only see your Burner number, including an area code, on their caller IDs.

All calls are routed to your primary, private number, which no one who contacts you through this app will ever see. Text messages, too, are secured in the app. Custom line colors allow you to compartmentalize your callers, and help you to remember who has access to which Burner numbers, if you have several.

If you decide that you no longer need a number, or if you believe that your privacy has been compromised, simply dispose of the Burner number by tapping a button labeled “Burn it.”

Your number will instantly go out of service, and all data connected to this phone number will disappear from your smartphone.

Compartmentalizing with Burner

To some, this may seem like yet another way in which people complicate their lives with technology. To others, the perceived need for such an app is a reflection of the paranoia of our time – a paranoia that is both self-inflicted, as social media has created the temptation to make nearly every aspect of our private lives public, in addition to that which is imposed upon us by news of NSA spying.

Great for real estate agents

Certainly, the app is not for everyone. Many of us do not mind our co-workers’ ability to access a private line; we often provide that access. Yet, someone who offers his or her services to random strangers online or on the street might mind.

Imagine that you are a dog-walker. You are putting your flyers everywhere – pasting them onto lampposts, stuffing them into mailboxes, and posting them onto announcement boards at cafes. Your phone number will be included on these flyers. You accept that most of your customers will want nothing more from you than your offer to pick their dogs up from a specified location of their choosing, take the dogs on 15-30 minute jaunts, and then return the dogs to a location of the customers’ choosing.

However, there is also the possibility that a few of your customers will have other intentions. A professional who seeks to protect the integrity of his or her business, and to filter out all nonsense, probably needs this app.

Burner connects with productivity apps

Burner is also convenient for those who want to make connections at conferences, people who are conducting independent sales and purchases (e.g. used car sales), and those who organize events. With Burner Connections, an additional platform, users can connect their Burner numbers to other professional apps, such as Evernote, Slacker, Dropbox, and SoundCloud.

Take it home (while leaving it at work)

The purpose of Burner is not to reinforce our insecurities about the Digital Age, but to help us sort through them. It is true that smartphones allow for data to be stored and shared like never before. It is also true that undesirable people have more access to us now. While we may be unable to avoid the messiness of our private lives, we can at least stop it from spilling out into our work.

#Burner

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Real Estate Technology

Do you give out your phone number? You may want to rethink…

(TECHNOLOGY) As a real estate agent, its tempting to give out your number to whoever asks for it. But be cautious of what exactly you’re giving out.

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Man giving out phone number using his phone representing addiction.

Friendly reminder: You do not need to share your cell phone number with everyone.

This sounds like a simple statement, but with the abundance of accounts and reliance on technology for pure convenience, most people freely give away their personal numbers without considering the consequences.

An extension of yourself

As the dependency on smartphones has increased, privacy standards have decreased.

Using a phone number to unlock an account or shop online is so common that many people don’t think twice before typing it in.

Even if this nonchalant attitude has never led to anything detrimental, there is always the possibility of your account being hacked. Having your phone number attached to this account will only make everything worse. For example, if a hacker finds their way into a Macy’s database, they can use the phone numbers tied to member accounts to access other information.

By simply knowing your cell phone number, all the accounts associated with it are jeopardized.

Think of how many times you have been asked for your cell phone number. Of course, disregard the interested strangers, family and friends and you’ll find that this sharing still occurs multiple times throughout the week. Email and social media pages may ask for it to verify your account. Retailers may ask for it for marketing purposes.

Bank accounts, rewards programs, and even ordering a pizza requires you to share your number.

Keep it secret, keep it safe

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to prevent hackers from stealing your information.

The first thing is simple, don’t share your phone number with everyone. Just because a customer service representative or online form asks for your number does not mean that it is required. You can deny their request if it is not mandatory. Second, don’t open links sent via text from numbers you do not recognize. Sending these links is a common way hackers use phone numbers to access other information.

You can also have a separate phone number for personal use to limit contact from spammers and unknown callers.

Never be afraid to ask questions when it comes to your privacy. Though freely sharing personal information is the norm these days, it does not mean that you have to participate.

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Real Estate Technology

Rating the quality of your meetings could create more efficient work teams

(TECHNOLOGY) SurveySparrow has a plugin that allows you to rate meetings. It could help you and your team evaluate and improve future meetings.

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We love data. We are in a data-driven world. We like giving our feedback via customer reviews, social media comments, surveys, and Twitter (yes, Bob, everyone knows your flight was delayed). Tell us what the data says. Well, it might be a great time to finally get some data on all those meetings you’ve been having.

Many people are sick of meetings; we sit in a lot of them that then need follow-ups because either we didn’t have an agenda, or we didn’t get through the agenda. There also may be additional meetings because no one really knows what is going on, or people are unable to have a solid plan in place (thanks to the global pandemic) and require more frequent check-ins/status updates.

Perhaps we’d all dread meetings less if they could be improved and justified as a much better use of time. G suite just made available a free plugin, by SurveySparrow, that could possibly help your company improve your meetings:

RateTheMeeting helps you improve meetings by collecting feedback to understand what works and what doesn’t for your teams, divisions, or company. With this data (feedback), it might be possible to stick to agendas and the purpose of the meeting, prevent topics that require a separate discussion and make sure that everyone’s time is well spent. It syncs to your calendar and automatically follows up with attendees to collect feedback after each meeting. You can see how it works on YouTube here.

While this seems like a helpful tool, the biggest hurdle may come from management first. They may not want feedback on meetings if they feel that meetings are necessary and the most valuable way to communicate for their teams. It also might be one more data set that they have to sort and mine.

Next, employees may not want to rate each meeting on top of their already busy schedules. They likely would only want to do this if it would make real change within the meeting culture of the organization. Either way, it might be nice to just offer a thumbs up or thumbs down for each meeting (for funsies?).

It’s always hard to please everyone, so you’ll just have to decide if adding this function is more trouble than it’s worth.

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Real Estate Technology

20 free professional marketing tools to kickstart growth for your business

(TECHNOLOGY) Running a small business is a ton of work and you need all the help you can get. Here are 20 free tools that help make it a little easier.

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When running your business, big or small, you’re only as good as what’s in your arsenal. This applies to your ability to be creative and think on your feet, as well as to have tangible tools at your disposal.

Below, we’ve outlined 20 of the top free tools that are designed to help grow your business – let us know in the comments what you love or what you’d add!

  1. Google Analytics – this is a definite need. With the world continuing to grow more and more digital, it’s necessary to know how your business is operating in the online realm. Google Analytics provides data about your small business, including traffic to your site and clicks on links. It gives you an idea of who is visiting and when, allows you to track your goals, and generate audience reports. Google also offers virtual classes that teach you how to master the platform.
  2. Hotjar – want to understand exactly how visitors are using your site without getting lost in the shuffle of numbers and data? Hotjar is where it’s at. You can see a user’s behavior and their exact process of perusing the site. There are also tools like feedback polls that allow your audience to interact with you when using your site.
  3. Canva – this is one of the best visual tools to create graphics for your company, both to print for physical display and to use on social media. The platform is easy-to-use and allows for a myriad of sizing options, backgrounds, and stock images.
  4. ProProfs Help Desk – this is a ticketing system that allows your visitors to contact customer service and start a thread of communication; all while keeping everything ticketed and organized. This also allows for shared inboxes, ticket resolution via chat, and ticket reduction up to 80% with knowledge base.
  5. JungleScout – this is your best friend when it comes to learning to sell on Amazon. Regardless of where you are in your seller journey, this tool will help you maximize your skillset.
  6. Kickstarter – crowdsourcing for your business without giving away the equity. This lets you recruit micro-investors and donors for your new business venture.
  7. MailChimp – This is an all-in-one tool that is necessary for all small business users. According to their website, “Bring your audience data, marketing channels, and insights together so you can reach your goals faster. With Mailchimp, you can promote your business across email, social, landing pages, shoppable landing pages, postcards, and more — all from a single platform.”
  8. Shopify – this platform has helped over one million businesses around the world and is continuing to help small businesses thrive. Shopify allows users to create and design an eCommerce website that is backed by helpful tools that help discover new customers, drive sales, and manage your business’s day-to-day operations.
  9. Buffer – provides simple social media tools that receive authentic engagement. Tell the story of your brand while growing your audience. The platform includes publishing, analytics, and engagement.
  10. Qualaroo – this is a customer and user feedback software that states its value as ten times higher than email surveys. It comes with what you need for useful feedback, including AI-powered analytics and reports.
  11. Zapier – a platform to connect your apps and automate workflow. Zapier moves information automatically between your web applications, allowing for more focus on the most important work.
  12. Doodle – a scheduling platform that allows meetings to be booked faster and smarter. No more need for an hour of back-and-forth emailing in order to nail down a meeting time.
  13. Docracy – a home for contracts and other legal documents, created by the community that uses them. The idea is to make these common documents easily available for everyone.
  14. Slack – the ideal way to communicate with your team and keep everyone on the same page at all times. This is a central communication hub where you and your team will stay in the loop, ask questions, and share updates.
  15. GoDaddy Website Builder – this is an extremely user-friendly tool that allows you to build websites that looks as though you paid someone hundreds to build it for you. There are many options for customization, and they have the tools that help your site look great on both desktop and mobile.
  16. ToDoIst – For many, it’s impossible to stay organized without the use of a to-do list. With this tool, you (and your team!) can stay organized with the most important tasks and priorities.
  17. Grammarly – When writing copy for your business’s brand, it is important to have as many eyes read through it as possible for any errors. Grammarly is a tool where you can plug your copy in and it will automatically find and highlight any grammar errors or typos. You can never be too careful!
  18. AdobeSign – Formerly known as EchoSign, this tool allows for paperless signatures that help make signing contracts and agreements as easy as the swipe of a finger.
  19. Sumo – a platform filled with tools to help you grow your website. It’s a free email capturing tool that takes only seconds to sign up.
  20. Pixabay – We don’t always have the time or the money to take photos to go along with our website copy and social media posts. Pixabay helps alleviate that need with free stock images that will help your message pop.

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